Today in Disney History

Disneyland:  August 6, 1961
The Flying Saucers opens in Tomorrowland.  On this new attraction, guests control their saucers by leaning to one side or the other as they float on powerful jets of air.  The saucers float inches above a 16,000 sq. ft. surface area.  (Due to a variety of maintenance and technical problems the popular attraction will close after only 5 years in operation, and even today remains a fondly remembered attraction that many guests wish could be brought back… a similar yet more technically advanced version, and with slightly modified theming, will debut in Disney California Adventure’s all-new land Carsland, set to premiere in 2012.)
 
Disneyland:  August 6, 1970
A bizarre thing takes place when more than 750 “Hippies” and “Radical Yippies” infiltrate the park, and take over Fort Wilderness  on Tom Sawyer Island and then proceed to raise the Vietcong flag and pass out reefers to passersbys. Later, they will infiltrate parade headed down Main Street, U.S.A. singing their own lyrics to “Zip-a-Dee Doo Dah” (“Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Mihn is going to win…”).  To counteract their demonstration, many more conservative guests try to drown them out by singing  “America the Beautiful.”  Before the confrontation can heat up however, Anaheim Police officers in full riot gear pour into the park from a number of backstage access points, basically encircling the protesters, and avoiding a full blown riot from occuring.   Vice President of Operations Dick Nunis orders the park closed at 7:10 pm. As a result of this incident, the park will enforce a “dress code” at the park entrance for many years afterward, occasionally refusing admission to “long-haired hippies”.  This unusual and unique incident is the only time an outside security force has ever made a full-blown public appearance inside the park.

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